The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

April 16, 2010

Child endangerment case heads to court

HERMITAGE — A Hermitage man who nearly dropped an 18-month-old girl from the car as he was allegedly fleeing from police investigating a burglary has allowed charges to proceed to court.

Clare D. Blair Jr., 30, of 1690 Pine Hollow Blvd., was charged with endangering welfare of children, conspiracy to commit burglary, receiving stolen property, reckless driving, not wearing a seat belt on a child, careless driving, trespass by motor vehicle, driving at an unsafe speed and driving without headlights.

Blair stipulated Thursday that prosecutors could show a crime occurred and he might have been involved. District Judge Ronald E. Antos, Farrell, held all charges for court.

Blair was released after posting bond.

Southwest Mercer County Regional police said Blair drove Christopher L. Shelatree, 34, of 318 Baldwin Ave., Sharon, on Jan. 21 to 3425 Hubbard-West Middlesex Road in Shenango Township. Shelatree broke into the house and started loading items into the car, police said.

Also with them was Shelatree’s 18-month-old daughter, who was in a car seat that was not secured, police said.

When Blair saw the owner’s car, he drove around the house, through the yard and through a ditch to the road, heading west toward Ohio, police said.

When Blair’s car hit the ditch, a safe belonging to the homeowner fell out of the car into the ditch, and the girl almost fell out, police said.

The homeowner followed Blair and called Mercer County 911, but lost the car in Hubbard. Police, believing the car might come back, staked out the state line, and saw it speeding back into Pennsylvania.

Blair was stopped at Seig Hill Road and Paul Street in Shenango Township, and police found the baby leaning sideways in the car seat with her head against a door.

The baby was taken to the police station and released to her mother.

Shelatree had fled into woods, but was arrested the next day at 80 First Ave., Sharon, after police received a tip.

Sharon police charged Shelatree with theft and receiving stolen property because he had the keys for a car reported stolen earlier that day from the 100 block of First Avenue.

Southwest police charged Shelatree with burglary, criminal trespassing, theft, receiving stolen property, endangering the welfare of a child and conspiracy to commit burglary and criminal trespass. Those charges have been held for court.

Also pending against Shelatree are six counts of misdemeanor retail theft for other incidents in Hermitage.

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